The Official Vaclav Nelhybel website, maintained by Dorothea Nelhybel, with a complete bibliography of works and recordings, is located at the University of Scranton website.
Internationally renowned composer and conductor Vaclav Nelhybel was born in Polanka, Czechoslovakia on September 24, 1919. He studied musicology at Prague University and the University of Fribourg and composition and conducting at the Conservatory of Music in Prague. He began his career in 1939 as a conductor at Radio Prague and the City Theater of Prague, Czechoslovakia. After World War II, he was named conductor and composer in residence at Swiss Radio and lecturer at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. From 1950 to 1957 he was musical director at Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany. He guest conducted such European orchestras as the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Geneva; Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; and the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra. In 1984 he conducted, as part of Australia's bicentennial celebration, a special work he composed for chorus and symphony orchestra
Nelhybel emigrated to the United States in 1957 and became a U.S. citizen in 1962. He became an important figure on the musical scene in America, contributing through his expertise in both conducting and composing. His contribution to the field of music education in his adopted country is especially noteworthy. His devotion and dedication to the creation of quality literature for wind ensembles in U.S. colleges and high schools raised the level of musical experience for budding and accomplished musicians alike. Few have figured so importantly in so many young musician's lives.
Nelhybel's all-consuming dedication to music is revealed in personal statements regarding his art: "I compose because that is me, that is what I am. The only answer I have is that it is the best means for me to manifest my existence as a human being." In the epilogue from his published choral and orchestra work, Let There Be Music, he has provided the following description of the power and position of music in his life and, perhaps, in all our lives: "Let Music speak for me the last kind words forgotten in the haste of living. With music, then, let me return to peace, at last. Let there be music of dreams, music of hope, music of joy, music of life. Music of Peace."
Creation of music was the motivating force in Nelhybel's life. His constant drive to write music left little time to consider publication. Upon the completion of a work, the inspiration for the creation of a new work would arise, demanding release, becoming the center of his creative attention
At the time of his death on March 22, 1996, at the age of 76, Nelhybel was the composer-in-residence at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Among his awards and honors are four honorary degrees in music from American Universities, including a degree from the University of Scranton in 1985
Among Nelhybel's over 600 compositions, more than 400 are published, including orchestral works, operas, wind ensemble works, and solo and small ensemble compositions. His unpublished works for orchestra, band, chorus, and a variety of other ensembles will become available as they are published by ARS NOVA MUSIC, a division of ARS NOVA PRESS®. Over a period of time, this will make available to the public the incredible variety of creations by this inspired musical genius.